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Compliance Officer Vs. Compliance Manager, Understanding the Difference

People typically have a rough idea of your responsibilities when you give them your job title. Also, sometimes slight differences in job titles boil down to essentially the same responsibilities when you read the description. 

Compliance officers and compliance managers may, to many, seem like they could be one and the same. The nuances are likely lost on anyone outside of the field. For those who want to work in the field, however, it is a different story. 

Let’s break down the differences between the two positions, because Seattle University School of Law can prepare you for whichever one better suits your career interests. Through our MLS in Compliance and Risk Management Program, you’ll graduate with the tools to excel in either position, as well as others in the field, including financial compliance, healthcare compliance, and data and cybersecurity compliance.

Compliance Officer Vs. Compliance Manager

Compliance Officer 

What is a compliance officer? Compliance officers are responsible for researching and understanding the laws and regulations surrounding their company’s industry. They ensure that the laws and regulations are followed, and as a result, the organization remains compliant. Compliance officers must not only possess knowledge of the industry-specific regulations, but knowledge of the company’s infrastructure as well. The day-to-day includes research, analysis, and investigations into the company’s compliance efforts and the ever-changing regulations. 

Compliance Manager

What is a Compliance Manager? Compliance management involves overseeing multiple compliance officers across a company. Compliance managers are in charge of assessing workflows and assigning projects accordingly. Communication skills are key in this position as they manage their team of officers. This position requires more experience in the field than a compliance officer position does. 

In some companies, the two job titles are interchangeable. In others, especially larger companies, more responsibilities fall on compliance managers to keep the organization running in compliance with the regulations.

The Journey To Career Success in Either Profession

Whether you want to be a compliance officer, a compliance manager, or you’re not quite sure yet, mapping the road to that profession is helpful. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement to work in that field. Specialized advanced degrees make you a more marketable job candidate. Those who go into compliance often pursue a degree in accounting, business, or law. A Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree is another route to advance your career. 

In addition to the educational component, compliance managers generally need a few years of experience in order to be in a management position. Both positions report to the chief compliance officer.

Every compliance position relies on in-house trusted experts to manage risks and assess opportunities for the organization.

Let Seattle University Get You There

Seattle University has a fully online MLS program that is perfect for those wanting to advance their career through an advanced degree. Our program prepares our students to lead compliance efforts in any organization or industry. While students can complete their general MLS degree in compliance and risk management, we also have five concentrations: healthcare, corporate compliance, financial services, sports law, and data and cybersecurity. Specializations give our graduates an extra leg up in finding the job they desire post-graduation. 

Our program is part-time and fully online, making it an excellent fit for individuals who are already working or have other obligations. You’ll graduate with highly sought-after knowledge of the law, legal analysis, and the frameworks used to identify, assess, and respond to risk. Taught by a faculty composed of experienced legal educators and adjunct faculty drawn from Seattle’s leading businesses, our MLS program readies you to become a trusted expert. 

Ready to advance your career in compliance? Contact our admissions office today.

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